Maximizing a workout with cardio

By on February 22, 2013

A good, hard workout means something different for everyone. Whether it’s a morning jog, a yoga class, or weight lifting, most people have a certain routine that they follow every time they exercise. A person’s workout usually reflects what works best with his or her body. It would seem that there is no right way to workout. However, new studies show otherwise. Cardio burns the most fat and calories. Weight lifting can help build muscle but is not the best way to shed pounds.

Photo courtest UAB Recreational Center

Photo courtest UAB Recreational Center

Cardiovascular exercise, also known as aerobic exercise, is defined as physical activity that raises the heart rate 60-85% of the heart’s maximum heart rate for an extended period of time. On the other hand, a sudden strenuous activity might raise the heart rate to this level temporarily, but is not considered cardio because the heart rate elevates only for a short time. Hence, weight lifting it is not considered cardiovascular exercise, but running is because the increased heart rate is sustained.

When doing aerobic exercise, a person uses several muscles in the arms, legs, and hips, causing his or her heart rate to increase. He or she will also take in more deep breaths. As a result, a large amount of oxygen comes into the bloodstream, traveling to the lungs and muscles. The body also releases endorphins, which reduce stress and make a person feel happier overall. For those interested in losing weight, cardio workouts are the way to go. As mentioned earlier, aerobic exercise burns fat and calories.

Weight lifting and other anaerobic exercise are still beneficial to one’s overall health, however. It is still important to keep the timing in mind though. Once a person has lost weight in his or her ideal range, weight lifting can in fact be a great workout. It helps tone the muscles and keep weight off once a person has already lost it. In addition, weight lifting is beneficial for maintaining strong bones and for preventing muscle loss. Bones tend to become weaker and the body tends to lose muscle mass as a person ages. However, weight lifting can combat the results of aging in the body.

So what is the best way to maximize a workout? Every person must look to see what his or her body requires. Cardio is a good option when trying to lose weight and to stay in shape after reaching one’s ideal weight, but weight lifting has many benefits for a person after reaching this goal. Those who want to stay in shape should consider a workout that combines both cardio and weight lifting. However, one should choose the best workout for them and not follow a routine simply because it works for someone else.

Natasha Mehra
Staff Writer
nmehra16@uab.edu

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